In 1968, an aspiring 18 year-old singer auditioned to replace Melba Moore in the Broadway musical Hair, but was instead cast in the German road production of the show, later switching to the Austrian version. Years later, during a stint in the Vienna Folk Opera, she met, married, and had a child with Austrian performer Helmut Sommer.
In 1974, Mrs. Sommer met an influential German producer while singing background on a Three Dog Night demo record and he immediately recorded her first single, The Hostage, which went to number one in France, Belgium and The Netherlands. However, due to a typo on the label, the world now knows the singer as Donna Summer.
The Hostage is oh-so-corny, with its kidnapped husband theme and the phone calls throughout the record. But the power of Donna Sommer/Summer’s voice cannot be denied. And thanks to the magic of YouTube, here’s the video of her first hit record from 38 years ago.